Trying cases before juries you come to realize that it’s not a good idea to appear to be too darn smart. Particularly when you are still young (say, less than forty), most jurors don’t want some smart guy making them feel even more miserable about their jury duty by rubbing their faces in his big brain.
On the other hand, litigation being leadership, you can’t influence the jurors to do anything if they think you’re an idiot. Who would follow an idiot anywhere, except maybe another idiot.
So there is a bit of a dilemma there. How does a litigator be smart about what he’s doing without appearing to be too smart while he’s doing it? My answer: by being a Country Lawyer, which is a litigator who is missional and doggedly determined to advance his client’s interests without sacrificing his humility and good nature.
There is nothing easy about litigation—it’s a grind. Doing it well requires constant vigilance and the burning desire to improve one’s skills. But that vigilance and desire can cause a man to lose his humility because he may start to view lesser-skilled lawyers with disdain. It can also sour him as he realizes that no matter how well he performs his job, the outcome for his client may be less than favorable because the process of litigation is largely outside of his control.
I wish I had a twelve-step plan or specific guidelines that I could guarantee would keep a man on the path of the Country Lawyer. But I don’t. What I have is a set of experiences and techniques that a litigator can turn to for help.
I’m just an old clown with stories that I’ve written in down in one place in case I forget them.